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The French Broad by Wilma Dykeman

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The Rivers of American series of books was a crowning publishing achievement for Rinehart, one of America's finest publishers of its era. Some of America's best-known authors contributed to this series. Not only is the French Broad one of the shortest rivers to have been included that ran along a scantly populated course, but Wilma Dykeman (1920-2006) was an author who had not previously published a single book. Nevertheless, when Rinehart told her that they could not publish her manuscript because of her chapter on the pollution of the river, she told them that they had their choice - all or nothing!  They chose all. This was before Rachel Carson published Silent Spring! And it was characteristic of Wilma Dykeman. I heard her deliver many lectures over the years. At each one, she included her warnings of environmental destruction and spoke out for feminism and against racism and class chauvinism. This book was the beginning of one of the very most distinguished careers in both fiction and non-fiction writing based in the Appalachian South. Nobody was more instrumental in establishing Appalachian Literature as a widely-recognized sub-genre.

New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1955. 371 pages. Trade paperback.